Are you looking for how to prevent kidney failure? You are in the right place at the right time. In the U.S. alone, over 30 million people are living with CKD (chronic kidney disease).
Kidney failure is also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and it is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. When the kidneys fail, they stop working well enough for you to survive without a kidney transplant or dialysis.
What are the causes of kidney disease?
In most cases, kidney failure is caused by other health issues that have permanently damaged or harm the kidneys little by little, over time. When the kidneys are damaged, they may not work perfectly again. If the damage continues and the kidneys are less able to do their job, you have chronic kidney disease.
Kidney failure is the most severe (last stage) stage of chronic kidney disease, which is why the stage is called ESRD (end-stage renal disease).
- Genetic diseases (diseases you are born with), e.g. polycystic kidney disease.
- Urinary tract problems
- Nephritic syndrome
- Autoimmune diseases, such as IgA nephropathy and lupus.
Sometimes, within two days the kidneys can stop working suddenly. This type of kidney failure is known as acute renal failure or acute kidney injury. The following are the common causes of acute kidney injury:
- Urinary tract issues
- Heart attack
- Not enough blood flowing to the kidney
- Drug abuse or illegal drug use
When this type of kidney failure occurs, it is not always permanent. With treatment, the kidney may return to normal or almost normal, especially if you don’t have other serious health issues.
Even if you have one of the health issues that can lead to kidney failure, you may not have it. Working with your doctor and living a healthy lifestyle to control these health issues can keep your kidneys working for as long as possible.
What are the symptoms of kidney failure?
If your kidneys are starting to fail, you may notice the following:
- Not feeling hungry
- Vomiting and nausea
- Swelling in the ankles and feet
- Muscle cramps
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble catching your breath
- Not enough urine (pee) or too much urine
If your kidneys suddenly stop working (acute kidney failure), you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
If you notice one or some of the above symptoms, it may indicate a sign of serious kidney issues. Contact your doctor right away if you notice any of those symptoms.
How to prevent kidney failure?
If you are looking for how to prevent kidney failure, the following tips can help you:
1. Manage your blood sugar
Diabetes is one of the factors that increase your risk of kidney failure and heart disease. That is why you need to manage your blood sugar.
Being overweight can increase your risk for conditions associated with kidney failures, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
High blood pressure is another factor that can increase your risk of kidney failure and heart disease. So manage it properly.
4. Reduce salt intake
If you take too much salt, you need to reduce it.
5. Eat a heart-healthy diet
Taking a heart-healthy diet low in cholesterol and sugar but high in fiber can help you prevent kidney failure. Taking foods high in fiber, fruit, vegetable, and whole grains can help you prevent weight gain.
#6. Limit alcohol intake
The extra calories in alcohol can make you gain weight and can also increase blood pressure that is why you should reduce alcohol intake.
7. Drink more water
When you are dehydrated, the blood flow to your kidney reduces and can damage your kidneys. Ask your doctor how much water is good for you per day.
8. Exercise regularly
9. Reduce stress
Reducing anxiety and stress can help you lower blood pressure, which is good for your kidneys.
10. Limit over-the-counter pain medication
High doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen, aspirin and ibuprofen, reduce the amount of blood flow to the kidneys, which can harm the kidneys.
11. Don’t smoke
Smoking reduces blood flow to your kidney. It destroys kidney function in people with or without kidney disease.
Risk factors for kidney failure
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around your heart)
- Hyperkalemia (high potassium levels in the blood)
- Weak immune system
- Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in your legs)
- Osteoporosis (weak bones)
Is there a treatment for kidney failure?
There are treatments for kidney failure. Acute kidney failure can be reversed while chronic kidney failure progression can be slowed with the right treatment.
The problem is temporary in acute kidney failure. Your kidney will start working again when the problem is treated. Examples of treatment are:
- Removal of an obstruction
- Intravenous fluids for dehydration
- Corticosteroids for immune conditions
- Transfusion for blood loss
- Antibiotics for pyelonephritis
If the kidneys don’t respond to treatment right away, hemodialysis can be done temporarily until they are working again.
Chronic kidney failure is caused by progressive damage to kidneys. Since it can’t be reversed, something else has to take over the work your kidneys do. Here are the options:
- Kidney transplant. Someone has to donate a kidney for you so that your kidney can be surgically replaced
- Peritoneal dialysis. This can be done at home or at a center. It is the filtering that occurs in your abdomen which doesn’t require a partner’s assistance.
- A dialysis machine can filter your blood. This will require a partner but can be performed at home or at a dialysis center.
What to expect if you are facing kidney failure
The type of kidney failure you have will determine your outlook. If you have chronic kidney failure, the kidneys can’t recover, but the right treatment can slow its progression. You can have a kidney transplant to correct chronic kidney failure.
If it is an acute kidney failure, your kidneys will most likely recover and continue working again.
How do I adjust to kidney failure?
After learning that you have kidney failure, you have to change your lifestyle to make time for your treatments. This can be really hard to do because you may have to find new ways to exercise or even stop working. You may feel nervous or sad, but all is not lost. Get professional help to feel better and live a fulfilling life.
What food to eat to prevent kidney failure?
Here is the food to eat to prevent kidney failure:
- Sea bass
- Red grapes
- Egg whites
- Olive oil
- Skinless chicken
- Bell pepper
- Macadamia nuts
- Shiitake mushrooms
The bottom line
If you are looking for how to prevent kidney failure, following the above tips can help you. The most important thing is to manage your diabetes and high blood pressure properly.
Living a healthy lifestyle by being active, eating right and not smoking can also keep your kidneys healthy all the time.